Alice’s Story A Day in the Life of a Teen

I woke up at six-thirty this morning. My mother hadn’t yet popped her head into my room, but I heard her knocking and waking up my brother Pete and my sister Carrie. How does she manage to be so cheerful every morning? Does she get up and practice in the mirror before she wakes us up? I wouldn’t have it in me until I was up for a few hours.

My usual routine again today: toilet, shower, deodorant, the little makeup my mother lets me to wear to school, and then back to my bedroom to decide what to wear. Mom thinks I should pick out something the night before. She used to do this for me when I was younger. I couldn’t do it then and I can’t now. How would I know what kind of mood I might be in the next morning? Will I want to be part of the woodwork today, coordinated with my friends, unique, or part of the crowd? Will I want my teachers to notice me or leave me alone today?

I have to admit, this is hard to decide in the few minutes I have every morning. Sometimes I don’t really know what mood I’ll in until breakfast and then I have to run back upstairs to change. I might not know for sure until I am getting off the bus at school and then it’s too late.

Mom usually has an editorial review ready for me by the time I get down to breakfast. “That’s a nice top, Sweetie.” “Don’t you think you might be a little too warm with that sweater?” “Isn’t that skirt a little short, Alice?”  I never know what to expect, but at least she notices what I’m wearing.  I guess that’s good.
At least I get to climb on the bus by myself. My brother and sister aren’t old enough to take the early bus yet. I am the second one on unless my friend Jenny oversleeps and misses the bus. I don’t have much choice of who to sit with. I can either sit with Jenny and make her happy or sit by myself and make her sad.
Sitting by myself, I have to take my chances on who will sit next to me. Sometimes this is fun and sometimes it’s a pain if one of the goof-offs sits down next to me. I’m working on a way to let people know I don’t want them to sit with me without actually having to come out and say it. So far I haven’t figured out anything both subtle and effective.

Getting off the bus is a real sideshow. Boys try to look cool and end up looking goofy. Girls try a new hairdo or a combination of top and shorts to see if they can look glamorous or refined, unless it is a day when they don’t care what anyone thinks.

Alex tells me he likes my sweater on the way into class. Does he really, or is he just trying to be nice? He surprises me. I didn’t realize he even knew I existed. I wanted to talk to him for a long time and then he beat me to it. Is he just into sweaters, or does he like me? I should ask his sister Julie but she might tell him I asked. I guess that wouldn’t be so bad. At least then he would know he exists in my imagination at least.

Today none of my teachers notice my sweater or say anything else about me for that matter. I guess today is just one of those “fit in” days where teachers don’t notice me. Mrs. Holmes compliments me for answering a question in geometry class. I don’t usually volunteer an answer. I would hate to look dumb in my hardest class. I think she appreciates me trying though.

After school, Tina invites me over to listen to her new music downloads. I like going to her house. We can be honest with each other about things that bother us and not wonder if we will be laughed at. She offers to help me with geometry which for some strange reason makes sense to her. She must have a different kind of brain than I do. I take her up on her offer.

When I get home, my brother Pete is practicing free throws in the basket above the garage door. He throws the ball to me and I swish it. Basketball is the one thing we have in common. He even compliments me on my fine shot. I quit while I’m ahead.

My sister Carrie is playing a game on the computer when I walk inside the house. I have to look up some stuff for my global studies class. I guess I could let her play for a while before bugging her. Homework is always more important than games on our family computer. Maybe some day I will have my own. Carrie smiles at me. I guess she somehow knows I am giving her a break.

Before I got up this morning, Dad had to leave for an early meeting at work. I wonder how he does it. I find it hard enough getting up when I do. He’s home when I walk in the door and asks me how my day was and I tell him fine, even in geometry. He says he would help me if he could but he was never good at it either. I thought all boys were supposed to be good at math.

I help Mom with dinner and she thanks me as usual. It’s our little routine. She asks me if I have much homework and I tell her the litany of little assignments I have for the night. I get to it after dinner in my room. I enjoy having my own room. It’s like my castle. Everyone has to knock if the door is closed. Sometimes it is nice to be alone.

As I get undressed, I look at myself in the mirror. I still look fifteen. My breasts seem a little bigger than they were yesterday. Could that be possible? What if they get too big? What would the boys think of that? What would my friends think? What would I think? I guess there’s not much I can do about it right now.

I saw a show on the health channel about breast surgery. They can put implants in if your breasts are too small or cut some off if they are too big. I don’t like the idea of being cut up to look a little bigger or smaller. I guess I will just wait to see how I turn out.

Otherwise I think I look okay. I’m not glamorous like Katie. I’m not plain like June, although a makeover might help her look a lot better. There’s a lot more to me than how I look. My friends all like what they call my “personality.” Maybe I will find out more about that when I take psychology. I guess my friends mean that I’m nice to people. I try to be friendly to everyone I can. After all, that’s how I want them to treat me. Well, it’s time for bed. I’ll have another day to work on myself tomorrow, math as well as personality.

(Excerpt from my book,  Make the Best of Your Teen Years: 105 Ways to Do It.)

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Book Release: Transform Your Anger and Find Peace



How did we get so angry?

Anger surrounds us these days. It shows up on the nightly news, on talk shows and the newspapers as well as on the Internet, not to mention in interactions on the street. Unplanned events in our daily lives invite us to summon and express our anger. It is as if we have become an angry culture. How can we make sense of anger, cope with it and find alternative ways of dealing with our own and others’ misfortunes besides giving vent to our anger in destructive ways? That question is the challenge I pose for you and invite you to explore with me in this book.
As a psychologist, I worked with angry people for thirty­five years on anger management. They have been in my life longer than that. Our country seems angrier now than I can remember it being in the past. Not everyone barks at other people, attacks them or shoots them. Yet the national mood seems to be one of anger coming from a national divide on both sides of every issue.

What to do about anger

I have thought about how this happened and have consulted a variety of publications and also drew on my own professional and personal experience. I came up with a few findings and thought you might find them useful as well. Here are the questions I posed:

  • What is anger and what causes it?
  • How does it affect your life?
  • What kinds of anger problems are there?
  • Who is the target of your anger?
  • How do you manage anger directed toward you?
  • How can you transform your anger?

Have you wondered about any of these? Are you still looking for answers? Join me in an adventure to move away from anger and toward peace.
This book is available through Amazon. Take a look at the free sample (Look Inside) on the Amazon page for Transform Your Anger and Find Peace.

Strong Girls:Strong Parents

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Strong Girls, Strong parents: A Guide to Raising Teenage Girls in a New Era
„Your teenage daughter hasn’t lost her mind and neither have you”. So says Strong Girls, Strong Parents: A Guide to Raising Teenage Girls in a New Era, a handbook written by a clinician with more than fifteen years of experience in helping teens and their parents to develop a healthier way of communicating.

Excerpt from Monica Dominirska’s review in Satprn news. Read more.

LGBTQ teens in abusive relationships: a personal account

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This article is personal, but still based in fact. When one of the qnotes editorial team informed me that we’d missed Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month in February, I was ashamed. I, of all people, should have addressed this issue that affects so many young people, LGBTQ and otherwise. After all, it affected me not so long ago.

“Thirty-three percent of adolescents in America are victim to sexual, physical, verbal, or emotional dating abuse,” reads DoSomething.org, an activism organization for young people. “Only one-third of the teens who were involved in an abusive relationship confided in someone about the violence.”

These statistics gave me a visceral reaction. Instantly, the nauseous anxiety of my teens returned full-force.

I told no one about the abuse I suffered when a teenager in my first romantic relationship.

Now, I can’t be silent anymore.

(Excerpt from Maria Dominguez’s post in Qnotes- read more)

Blind Glastonbury teen stuns and inspires with her powerful voice

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GLASTONBURY — At just 13-years-old, Paige Dury has never met a challenge she couldn’t handle. She may not be able to see, but in sharing her story she’s hoping others never lose sight of their goals, and never give up hope for the future.

Paige, of Glastonbury, Connecticut can’t see the smiles on people faces when they hear her incredible voice, but she knows they’re there. The cheers and claps of the crowd of thousands at a recent Hartford Wolf Pack game tells it all.

“Singing makes me feel happy, and I love making people feel something when I sing, and then the reaction that people give me at the end makes it worth it too like it makes me want to do it more because people are enjoying it,” she said.

(Excerpt from Erika Arias’s post for Fox 61 News- read more)

Are you autistic? Getting diagnosed as a teen or adult

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About 1.5 million people in the United States have autism, according to Advancing Futures for Adults with Autism. This number has increased significantly in the past couple of decades, likely due to greater knowledge about the disorder.

Even with that greater knowledge, the number is only an estimate and it becomes murkier when discussing people other than kids.

The number of adults living with autism today is even less certain according to AFFA. “Some sources cite that roughly 80 percent of those individuals with autism are under the age of 22.”

(Excerpt from Sinclair Cares article in Sinclair Broadcasting-read more)

Unhealthy teen relationships may still need room to grow

Janus Bazan is the guidance counsellor department head at Kelvin High School.

 

Emily Bernardin may only be 19 years old, but she knows a thing or two about love, and what it’s like to be in an unhealthy relationship.

“I had some bad experiences, but I’ve grown from them,” said Bernardin, who credits her mother for giving her room to grow.

“My mom knew [about the bad relationship]. We talked about it a lot and she knew she couldn’t make me do anything. She was just there for me through the whole thing, and watched as it fell apart,” said Bernardin.

Guidance counsellors at Kelvin High School watch things fall apart and get put back together on a daily basis. For counsellors such as Janus Bazan, it comes with an understanding of how formative and intense the high school years can be.

“For some adults, it’s a little difficult to imagine that somebody at 15 or 16 can actually love, but it’s so strong. It’s there,” said Bazan.

(Excerpt from Kim Kaschor’s article for CBC News- read more)